Cuttlefish

Dave Freer. Prometheus/Pyr, $16.95 (276p) ISBN 978-1-61614-625-2
In this steampunk adventure set in an alternate 20th-century, two teenagers bond during a series of death-defying episodes aboard an illegal submarine. Fourteen-year-old Clara Calland and her mother are on the run from the globally dominant British Empire because of their association with Irish rebels. Circumstances place them on the Cuttlefish, a coal-fueled submarine that runs smuggled goods across the ocean. On the ship, Clara meets Tim Barnabas, a young member of the crew who is determined to prove himself. As the Cuttlefish races from port to port, one step ahead of pursuit, Tim and Clara must help save the ship on a number of occasions, while trying to ferret out a traitor. While Freer (Dog and Dragon) offers action aplenty, a fascinating setting, and memorable characters, his story runs on a slow burn, not unlike the submarine at its center. Still, he has created a fun world to explore, and he doesn’t shy away from deeper themes, such as the casual racism that plagues the mixed-race Tim, courtesy of his shipmates. Ages 12–up. Agent: Michael Kabongo, OnyxHawke Agency. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/18/2012
Release date: 07/01/2012
Genre: Children's
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